Great Barrier Reef

Your Choice: Heavy and/or Light Tackle Sportfishing

Fishing for Black Marlin in Cairns

Heavy Tackle Marlin Fishing

Each year they come...through the Torres Straights, south along the northeast coast of New Guinea; down from the Bismark Archipelago, the Solomon Islands and Samaria; up from New Zealand; and west from the Fijis, and possible even the coasts of Peru and Ecuador to form, for a brief time, the largest concentrations of black marlin known to the world.

This is the Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world, and the battleground for classic encounters between anglers and his quarry - the giant black marlin.

They call it "Marlin Mecca" a very special stretch of ocean where more "granders" (marlin 1000 lb. plus) are taken than all the other combined fishing waters in the world! This represents the absolute pinnacle of the sport and draws billfishing aficionados from every corner of the globe.

The Reef lies 30-50 miles off the mainland so most anglers prefer the strategic advantages of living at sea. Some gameboats double as both mothership and sportfisher while other gameboats work off of motherships. Living at sea allows you to maximize your fishing time as you roam from The Ribbon Reefs to Linden Bank.

Because most of the marlin fishing takes place in the afternoon, in the morning anglers will have the opportunity to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, diving and light tackle fishing, making this a truly unforgettable vacation experience.

Heavy Tackle Season: late September through December.

Light Tackle Fishing:

While Cairns is best known for its trophy black marlin fishing, most of which takes place near the famed Ribbon Reef System, its outstanding light tackle fishing has gone unnoticed. Less than one hour from the Marlin Jetty lies some of the fastest gamefishing anywhere. To maximize your fishing experience we suggest one or two nights at sea on the Reef. However, because productive light tackle waters are less than one hour's running anglers can base in Cairns and day fish. This is exciting angling as crews stow the 50, 80 and 130lb. tackle and break out the 12, 16, 20 and 30 class outfits. There's small black marlin in the 50-150 lb. class inside the reef and blacks of 100-300 lbs. outside the reef. Sailfish are here in heavy concentrations in December and January and there are all the pelagics including huge Spanish mackerel, wahoo, yellowfin and dog tooth tuna, dolphin fish (dorado or mahi mahi), tiger and bronze whaler sharks. Most of the fishing is done via standard blue water trolling techniques using both swimmer and skipped baits. Wahoo, tuna and dolphin fish take feathers and Rapalas very well. Right on the reefs one can throw top water plugs at huge trevally and barracuda and bottom species such as coral trout and red emperor are taken with bait or jigs.

Light Tackle Season: August through January.

The custom-built Fascination II liveaboard charter vessel

Liveaboard Charters on Fascination II

Fascination II has been custom designed and built for up market live on board charters to the Great Barrier Reef. We recommend 1 - 4 guests for a 2 - 10 day trip out to the Great Barrier Reef. Live on Board charters are the ideal charters for small groups. If not restricted by time constraints there are very definite benefits to be gained from staying overnight right on the reef.

You'll have the opportunity to fish until later in the afternoon, which is proven to be the most productive part of the day. The next morning you can be having breakfast, swimming and snorkeling on the reef before the fishing begins. The liveaboard vessel is fully equipped with every conceivable comfort that one may require while at sea for any length of time.

The Fascination II heavy tackle season is from September to December and is conducted over 150 miles of the Great Barrier Reef between Cairns and Lizard Island. This is why we suggest liveaboard as it is impossible to predict where the fish will bite and the two options give you the flexibility to travel to the fish and stay with them.

Transfers from Cairns or Cooktown will be arranged to keep costs to a minimum. All food, drinks and fishing tackle are included in our price. Snorkeling gear is also supplied and tank dive can be arranged. Any other supplies can be arranged prior to your departure. Liveaboard trips vary from 3 - 10 days and employ 2 deckhands and a cook during the season.

No expense has been spared in establishing the Fascination II, all in an effort to make your trip a success. The very latest computerized motors to fully air conditioned accommodation with color television, VCR, ice maker, water maker, mobile telephone, gen sets and the very latest in fishing tackle and electronics.

A Word About Fascination II's Skipper:Capt. Bob Jones has well over 25 seasons of marlin fishing on the Great Barrier Reef. He specializes in liveaboard charters August to December from Townsville, Cairns to Lizard Island. He has won many international tournaments, and is known as one of the top captains among big-game marlin fishermen on the Great Barrier Reef. Capt. Jones will release several marlin in the 1000-pound range out of the water each season. Having previously served on the Eastern Tuna MAC board representing the charter boats on the east coast of Australia, he also consults with boat companies including Riviera in developing sports fishing boats.

grander on the great barrier reef

Tackle: All gameboats are operated by professional skippers who use the highest standard of tackle in the world. During the heavy season 80lb. and 130lb. class tackle will be used. If you desire to fish with anything lighter than 80 or 130 please advise the Fishing International staff.

During light tackle fishing periods 12lb. 16lb. and 30lb. class tackle is used. If you would like to fish with tackle lighter than 12lb., please advise our staff so we can arrange to have this special tackle on board. Please note that fighting chairs are removed during light tackle fishing charters.

lizard island

Lizard Island: Fabulous Lizard Island sits right on the outer Barrier Reef just a few miles from the legendary Ribbon Reef system. This is the only land-based operation that offers access to the prime marlin grounds and is the only option for those who do not want to live at sea. The lodge is heavily booked during prime marlin time so early reservations are a must.

great barrier reef

Diving: Diving on the reef is a rich and rewarding experience. There is everything from snorkeling in shallow lagoons to wall dives. All motherships and most gameboats are equipped for diving but require prior notice if diving will be included in your activities during your charter.

Packages: Fishing International will customize your personal itinerary with accommodations in Cairns, rental car, float plane transfers to/from your mothership and any additional side trips you may wish to include.

Travel Arrangements: Anglers fly on Qantas Airlines non-stop from Honolulu to Cairns, Australia. Cairns is also served from all major Australian cities by Australian Airlines and Ansett.

Travel Documents: A valid U.S. passport and Australian visa are required for Australia. No shots are necessary.

Arrival In Cairns: Upon arrival in Cairns you have a choice of ground transportation services to get you to your accommodation. All accommodations in the immediate area of Cairns have free transportation services. If your stay in Cairns is for any length of time we strongly recommend a rental car. Hertz, Avis, Budget and several local operators have a wide selection of vehicles for hire.

Transfer to Mothership: Float plane transfers will be arranged by our staff. Guests are picked up at their hotel by our air service. Flight times range from 20-45 minutes.

Accommodations: The selection of accommodation in Cairns runs the gamut. There is everything from high-rise hotels to cozy motel-type units. Here is a list of accommodations we have used and recommend:

Cairns Hotels (Deluxe):
Hilton - Tradewinds - Esplanade - Pacific International
Cairns Hotels (First Class): Four Seasons - Tuna Towers - Harbourside Quality Inn
Cairns (Efficiency Units): Bay Village - Cairns Colonial Club
Palm Cove: Small, beachfront village 20 minutes north of Cairns. Reef Ramada - Reef House (Deluxe) - Palm Cove Inn (Efficiency Units).
Kewarra Beach Resort: Exquisite waterfront resort in a unique 75-acre setting. Private bungalow-type accommodations with full amenities.Twenty minutes north of Cairns.
Port Douglas:Quaint resort community known for its charming restaurants, shopping and access to the Barrier Reef and Daintree rain forest, 40 minutes north of Cairns. New Sheraton Mirage Resort Hotel with championship 18-hole golf course (Deluxe) - Whispering Palms (Efficiency Units).

Things To See And Do: The Cairns/Port Douglas area offers excellent sightseeing and other activities that should not be missed. There is excellent shopping, trips to the Reef, touring the quaint villages of Palm Cove and Port Douglas, day trips to the rain forests, golfing and sailing. Lizard Island Lodge and Cape York Wilderness make excellent additions to your itinerary.

Credit Cards: All major credit cards are accepted at hotels, restaurants and shops.

Currency: It is best to exchange U.S. dollars into Australian dollars. There are currency exchange stations at all International Airports.


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